Oh, Canada! 🇨🇦
The Maritimes stole my heart.
I’m just going to stop pretending I’m going to turn over a new leaf and start posting new issues more frequently. It’s getting embarrassing. Remember the good old days when I was posting once per week? Nine days have passed since my last newsletter and Substack is telling me that just the photos I want to send exceed the allowed length for the email. 😅
So, I’m going to do what real writers do and edit this shit down.
Gone is the photo of the Jeep + David Towie on the shortest ferry ride I’ve ever experienced. 💥 Gone is the photo of waiting for the biggest ferry I’ve ever been on to take me over to Newfoundland. 💥 I’ve got a story to tell, dammit. I must prioritize!
In fact, I’m going to tell just one story here (plus some stats, as per uzh) and use photo captions to tell the bits & bobs that need less elaboration. 💥
Days on the road: 37
States visited so far: 22
Provinces visited so far: 6
Miles driven: 8704.5
Gallons of gas used: 618.2
Average miles per gallon: 14.1 (same as last time, which surprised me, but maybe it’s because the sample size is getting big?)
Average gas price: $5.22/gallon (up from $4.56/gallon…gas is dear in Canada!)
Animals seen since last issue: bald eagle, Canada geese (in their native habitat), skunk ☠️, and a mama red fox with 3 kits (scroll to the bottom for video!)
Weird place names encountered: Junk of Pork, Pull and Be Damned Narrows, Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!
Gander International Airport is a big reason I’m on this road trip at all. To be more precise, a 99% Invisible podcast episode about Gander International Airport captured my imagination several months ago and in a circuitous way led me to map out an almost 13,000 mile roadtrip around the continent.
I told the story on Instagram when I was there, but basically Gander has this really interesting history. It’s even had a musical made about the events there on 9/11. It’s also close to as far east as you can get in North America and I like reaching geographic extremes.
By the time I made it out to Gander, I’d already fallen in love with Newfoundland. First of all, I have a thing for quirky, little, rocky islands. This one I found particularly charming because it’s so windswept and rugged. It’s not barren, exactly, but the flora all seems stunted from the wind and cold.
I’ve yet to visit Scotland, but Newfoundland’s steep, green hills reminds me of what I imagine the highlands to look like. In fact, the early Scottish settlers of both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia chose it partly for the familiarity it provided.
When my ferry from Nova Scotia departed on our 7 hour, 96 nautical mile crossing, the skies were clear as a bell. Half an hour out of Port aux Basques, we sailed into a dense fog. I love ships, but there’s something unsettling about sailing out of fine weather into pea soup just before you enter a tiny harbor on a 600 ft ship.
It’s just a 15-minute drive from the ferry terminal to the giggle-inducingly-named J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park. By the time I got there and walked around, I was already smitten. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but Newfoundland appealed to me with its isolation and seeming disregard for the ways of the outside world.
The next day involved driving more than 6 hours to Gander, having a beer and a basket of fries at the airport bar where Frank Sinatra was once told to wait his turn, then driving another 4 hours back the way I came to Gros Morne National Park.
It was a long day, but one I’d been anticipating the entire trip. Gander marked the easternmost point of #MegaRoadTrip2022. After that stop, I’d be following road signs west instead of east. I’d be driving towards sunsets instead of sunrises. I’d be on my way home.
That point in a long trip where you realize it’s halfway done is always bittersweet to me. There’s something exhilarating about going forward, but also something comforting about knowing you’ll soon be back in familiar territory. Soon, in this case, still involves 1000s of miles of driving over the course of multiple weeks, but I look forward to the adventures I’ll have as I wind my way back to my Oregon home.
I’ll leave you with the video above showing a magical minute around sunset where I happened upon a mama red fox with 3 kits near Stanhope Beach. They weren’t tame, exactly, but they were less freaked out at seeing me than I expected.